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‘For Cost-effective, Quick Vaccination…’: Azim Premji Urges FM to Involve Private Sector in Covid-19 Efforts

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‘For Cost-effective, Quick Vaccination…’: Azim Premji Urges FM to Involve Private Sector in Covid-19 Efforts


Wipro Limited founder and philanthropist Azim Premji on Saturday urged the central government to involve the private sector in the Covid-19 vaccination effort.

Premji, who participated in an interaction at the Bangalore chamber of industry and commerce, told Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that the vaccination rate would get a big boost if private participation was allowed.

“Vaccines have been developed in record time. Now the key is to deploy and administer it in large proportions. The government is doing the best it can but I suggest that it supplement by involving the private parties, ” Premji told Sitharaman.

“There is a possibility that we can get the Serum Institute to supply vaccine at about 300 per shot, and hospitals, private nursing homes can administer this at a cost of Rs 100 a shot. So, within Rs 400 a shot, it is possible to do mass vaccination of the population. I think if government were to engage the private industry quickly, we can be sure of achieving a coverage of 500 million people within 60 days. That’s a practicality. And I think it is very important that government considers this as a major supplementation to the effort, ” he said.

The IT czar had last year donated ₹7,904 crore ( ₹22 crore a day) to battle the Covid-19 crisis.

Speaking at the event on Saturday, he highlighted that the pandemic had proved to be a “wake up call” to fix fundamental issues of public systems such as health, and changing the structure of society to become more equal and just.

Meanwhile, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of vaccine major Serum Institute of India (SII), on Sunday urged other countries to be patient as they wait for the supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, as the company has been directed to prioritise the needs of India.

Apart from making efforts to meet the requirements of India, the company is also trying its best to balance the needs of the rest of the world, he added.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made the announcement to gift the 2 lakh doses during his remarks at a UN Security Council open debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020), noting the impact of COVID-19 globally and calling for the cessation of hostilities around the world to help combat the pandemic.

The central government has cleared supply of 34.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to 25 countries on a commercial basis till February 11 under the initiative “Vaccine Maitri”.

The government last month mandated that the external affairs ministry would oversee the export of the vaccine on a commercial basis to foreign countries and international organisations.



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Airline CEOs, Biden Officials Consider Green-Fuel Breaks

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Chief executives of the nation’s largest passenger and cargo airlines met with key Biden administration officials Friday to talk about reducing emissions from airplanes and push incentives for lower-carbon aviation fuels.

The White House said the meeting with climate adviser Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also touched on economic policy and curbing the spread of COVID-19 travel has been a vector for the virus. But industry officials said emissions dominated the discussion.

United Airlines said CEO Scott Kirby asked administration officials to support incentives for sustainable aviation fuel and technology to remove carbon from the atmosphere. In December, United said it invested an undisclosed amount in a carbon-capture company partly owned by Occidental Petroleum.

A United Nations aviation group has concluded that biofuels will remain a tiny source of aviation fuel for several years. Some environmentalists would prefer the Biden administration to impose tougher emissions standards on aircraft rather than create breaks for biofuels.

Biofuels are false solutions that dont decarbonize air travel, said Clare Lakewood, a climate-law official with the Center for Biological Diversity. Real action on aircraft emissions requires phasing out dirty, aging aircraft, maximizing operational efficiencies and funding the rapid development of electrification.

Airplanes account for a small portion of emissions that cause climate change about 2% to 3% but their share has been growing rapidly and is expected to roughly triple by mid-century with the global growth in travel.

The airline trade group says U.S. carriers have more than doubled the fuel efficiency of their fleets since 1978 and plan further reductions in carbon emissions. But the independent International Council on Clean Transportation says passenger traffic is growing nearly four times faster than fuel efficiency, leading to a 33% increase in emissions between 2013 and 2019.

The U.S. accounts for about 23% of aircraft carbon-dioxide emissions, followed by Europe at 19% and China at 13%, the transportation group’s researchers estimated.

The White House said McCarthy, Buttigieg and economic adviser Brian Deese were grateful and optimistic to hear the airline CEOs talk about current and future efforts to combat climate change.

Nicholas Calio, president of the trade group Airlines for America, said the exchange was positive.

Airlines are ready, willing and able partners, and we want to be part of the solution” to climate change, Calio said in a statement. We stand ready to work in partnership with the Biden administration.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor



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